Cliffs.....

... it has been my experience that young men are often fearless, reckless, and quite mistakenly imagine themselves bulletproof, indestructible, and capable of almost anything....

.... add in the thrill of being away from home for the first time, some military training, and a liberal dose of alcohol and you have yourself a recipe for mischief that knows very, very, very few bounds....

... Oom Keesie recounted a story a few days ago of being lowered into a blowhole in search of lobsters.... and I must say that I was fairly well impressed by his adventure... I noted in his comment section that I had experienced a cliff adventure myself - and he quickly asked me for my story.... and so, here it is....

.... years ago as a young US Marine stationed on the barren, windswept, Aleutian island of Adak, I performed one of the most stupid stunts of my life..

.... back in the early 1990s there were actually two groups of US Marines stationed on Adak Island.... there were the "downtown" Marines - Infantry types - barracked in downtown Adak..... and then there were the "uptown" Marines - Intelligence types - barracked 8 miles away sandwiched between the the foot of Mt. Adagdak and Clam Lagoon.... I was an "uptown" Marine....

.... in 1991 the "downtown" marines - actually a Security Forces Detachment - began slowly
removing their presence from Adak due to their mission there no longer existing..... as a result, we "uptown" Marines began to receive a steady stream of gifts and goodies from our downtown brethren... it was mostly stuff that they weren't going to ship back stateside.... gym equipment, etc.....

... now, most units on Adak had communal cabins dotted over the countryside to allow some form of escape from the grind of work, and the mental abuse of the foul weather there.... our cabin was on the shore of Lake Andrew on the northern end of the island..... well, just before the last of the Security Forces left, they smiled and tossed us the keys to their cabin... and their cabin was a lot better than ours ever was....

... needless to say, we could hardly wait to begin partying at the new cabin every chance we were afforded...... the only problem with their big, beautiful cabin was that it sat at the edge of a 250 foot cliff overlooking Kuluk Bay.... the cabin was, quite literally, only twenty or so feet from the edge....

.... one particularly calm evening weather-wise found myself and three other Marines standing on the edge of the cliff admiring the view of the sun setting, and nursing a few beers..... I'm not 100% sure of the early details, actually, but legend has it that it was LCpl Teeman who first noticed the "trail" wandering off through the clumps of tundra.... well, it wasn't very long before four Marines and two cases of beer were happily sitting at the foot of the cliff, drinking those beers, and listening to the waves of the Bering Sea crash on the rocky shoreline.....

... we were having a wonderful time.....

.... after an hour or so, the temperature began to drop.... and since there was no way of building a fire on the rocks, we knew that we had to get back to the cabin or freeze...... of course, the problem was that it was now pitch dark, cold, and we were all standing drunk at the bottom of a 250 foot tall cliff.....

..... needless to say, I did not die that night...... and yes, we all made it back to the cabin safely..... but we did not go up the same route that we had come down...... after clawing our way up the cliff using clumps of tundra, we lost the trail and veered way off course....... so much so that there were moments where we were actually free-climbing 10-15 spans of bare cliff-face at a time while 100 feet in the air....

.... but none of us fell.... at one point I even slid off my leather jacket and used it as a makeshift rope - with myself and another holding onto the taut, outstretched arms of the jacket....

.... looking back, it truly is a miracle that we survived that climb....

... oh, and I was wearing cowboy boots.....

.... absolutely amazing, now that I am remembering all of it...... and as far as I know?..... there's still a case of Milwaukee's Best sitting there at the foot of that cliff..... and it can HAVE it.....

..... young men, folks.... hell, it's a wonder any of us ever survived to adulthood......

by Eric on April 16, 2010 | Bullshit (5) | TrackBack (0) | SWG Stories
Bullshit So Far

That is an amazing story. Don't tell my children, but I too have stories of stupid, drunken adventures and am lucky to be alive. I never climbed a cliff, but I did walk several miles down a dark mountain road in the middle of the night. My cousin and her date drove off the side of such a mountain road. In her drunken state, it did not seem to steep, but when she opened the door to get out, she rolled out of the car and down the mountian a ways.

Bullshitted by Lou on April 16, 2010 03:42 PM

At least you had the excuse of being slightly disoriented due to circumstances of your own making.
My tales of near death all occurred while I was completely sober albeit jacked up on youthful testosterone. I still can't relate them as I'm unsure what the statute of limitations on being stupid is.
Besides, yours are much better told.

Bullshitted by kdzu on April 17, 2010 07:20 PM

Ah... how many near-death experiences start with "we were drinking a case of Milwaukee's Best"...

I'm bettin' pert' near all of 'em...

Bullshitted by Harvey on April 18, 2010 01:59 PM

Whut? You LEFT the BEER? Well, looks like I need to do an Alaska trip, I mean 20 year AGED Milwaukees has got to be down right Priceless.

Let me have a few beers first.

Bullshitted by Wollf on April 19, 2010 04:58 PM

Wow this is a great resource.. Iím enjoying it.. good article

Bullshitted by pell grant on April 19, 2010 09:41 PM